December 2 NHL History
1909: The National Hockey Association, the predecessor of the NHL, is formed in Montreal. Charter members include the Montreal Wanderers, Renfrew Creamery Kings and the Montreal Canadiens.
1925: The New York Americans play their first NHL game, a 2-1 overtime road win against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Billy Burch scores the first goal in franchise history and Charlie Langlois gets the winner at 3:10 of overtime.
1967: Johnny Bucyk scores two goals in a 4-4 tie against the Chicago Blackhawks to become the Boston Bruins all-time leading goal-scorer. It’s his 230th in a Boston uniform, passing the mark of 229 goals held by Milt Schmidt. Bucyk finishes his NHL career in 1978 having scored 545 of his 556 goals with the Bruins.
1969: The NHL Board of Governors announces in New York that expansion franchises have been awarded to Buffalo and Vancouver. The new teams, the 13th and 14th members of the League, are to begin play in 1970-71.
2014: The NHL loses one of its icons when Hockey Hall of Famer Jean Beliveau dies at age 83.
Beliveau’s scoring totals (507 goals, 1,219 points in 1,125 NHL games, all with the Montreal Canadiens) are a small part of what makes him one of hockey’s most revered players. His grace on the ice makes hockey look easy, but his size and strength command respect from opponents. He’s cherished by fans throughout Canada for his character as well as his performance on the ice.
Beliveau plays with two generations of stars in Montreal. In the 1950s, he’s part of a team that includes Maurice Richard, Doug Harvey and Jacques Plante; in the 1960s, his teammates include Hall of Famers Serge Savard, Yvan Cournoyer and Rogie Vachon. Beliveau is part of Montreal’s late-1950s team that wins the Stanley Cup five consecutive times, then serves as captain when the Canadiens win in 1965, ’66, ’68, ’69 and 1971.
Beliveau’s final appearance is Game 7 of the Cup Final against the Chicago Black Hawks, when Montreal rallies from down 2-0 for a 3-2 victory that gives him his 10th championship. The Hall of Fame waives its usual three-year waiting period and inducts him in 1972.
Beliveau’s success continues after he retires. He is part of seven more championship teams while serving in Montreal’s front office.
2015: The New York Rangers play their first game in Brooklyn when they face the New York Islanders at Barclays Center. Kyle Okposo scores on the first shot of the shootout and Jaroslav Halak stops all three shots he faces to give the Islanders a 2-1 victory. The win gives the Islanders a 9-4-2 mark in their first 15 games at their new home; they move to Brooklyn after playing their home games at Nassau Coliseum from 1972-2015.